Last week, Omgpop was acquired by Zynga for roughly $200 million. The indie developer was responsible for suite of mobile games, chief among them being the exceptionally popular Draw Something. When the deal went down and news broke of its happening, the word was that Zynga was bringing the entire Omgpop team along with the purchase.
The Omgpop staff were becoming employees of Zynga.
That’s not completely true. One staffer did not sign on the dotted line with Zynga. Shay Pierce was a gameplay designer/developer for Omgpop based out of Austin, Texas. He was the one Omgpop employee that did not join the crew in working with Zynga.
Pierce took to Gamasutra to talk about his decision to skip out on working with Zynga. In effect, it mostly comes down to the fact that Pierce might not have retained control of his own, independently developed iOS game, Connectrode. He drafted up an agreement that would allow him to both work at Zynga and retain the rights to his previously developed game; Zynga rejected the offer.
That was the point when Pierce considered his ambitions in his piece on Gamasutra:
And then I wondered: why was I even trying to compromise? Zynga has an Austin studio, where several good friends of mine work. Yet I had never applied to Zynga. Why? Because the company’s values are completely opposed to my own values, professionally and creatively. Because I believe that developers are at the front lines of game development and deserve to be treated well, and I didn’t trust Zynga to do so. All this was still true — except that their complete unwillingness to negotiate with me only confirmed my concerns. Why on earth was I even considering joining?
In today’s landscape of mobile game design and sale, Zynga plays a huge part in everyday business. If you’re interested in a single perspective related to the recent sale of a small company to Zynga, check out Pierce’s full story linked below.